Customer Review

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can get better ideas for free on the internet, April 15, 2009
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This review is from: Easy Composters You Can Build (Paperback)
I've been composting for three years now, using a commercial "Earth Machine". My "Earth Machine" is bulging and splitting at the sides to the point where the door on the bottom doesn't fit any more. That's why I'm looking for plans to build something stronger. The illustrated composters in the pamphlet are either open to the air, so they'd be too cool for the accelerated composting I need in my small urban lot, or they would be too weak to hold up to the great stress and weight a 20 or 30 cubic foot compost pile generates.

This is a pamphlet with just a few ideas of how to build a practical composter. I found the discussions of composting in general interesting, but most of the composter suggestions are more appropriate for a large lot or farm than a single family urban home. I am disappointed that there aren't plans or ideas for building composters of reasonable urban size (let's say about 15-20 cubic feet) out of wood.

The closest to a usable idea is a 30 - 45 gallon plastic trash can with a bunch of holes drilled in it, which wouldn't work very well because that much damp compost would weigh hundreds of pounds. You really need an access door on the bottom to remove compost as it forms. Also, I doubt any standard trash can would be strong enough to hold up to the weight and heat. I also doubt that the unmortored cinder block plan in the pamphlet would hold up for the same reason.

For urban home use, the composter should be near the kitchen so it will be used. A good compost pile is almost odor and fly free. I wouldn't put anything suggested in the pamphlet on my patio near the kitchen. The composters described just wouldn't be appropriate next to the house.

In summary, I didn't find anything useful and practical in the pamphlet that I didn't know already. If you want to build something for your patio to compost yard and kitchen waste, this pamphlet will not be of much help.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 21, 2011 6:38:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 21, 2011 6:40:12 PM PDT
J. Lam says:
Don't know if it is mentioned in the pamphlet, or if you've come across it on the internet yet, but search the internet and YouTube for plans for building a tumbling composter. There are plenty of plans that you could follow or adapt to fit your needs.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2011 4:01:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 22, 2011 4:09:16 PM PDT
Wings42 says:
Thanks. I have three different designs of commercial composters, and hate all three for different reasons. The rotating one sounds better than what I have, about $300.00 worth of useless plastic.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 9:31:51 PM PST
I have designed a rotating composter which recycles a stainless steel drum from a washing machine which has multiple small holes for excellent aeration (no flies-no rodents). It needs two fixed casters. This is truly a DIY product. I have proof of concept -end product doesn't smell. However like every composting system it will only work well with attention to the basics i.e balanced mix of dry & green matter and sufficient moisture. Major virtue is you just swap out a full drum for an empty one.
Keith Langton, Auckland NZ

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 10:19:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 7:59:20 PM PST
Wings42 says:
A lady wrote a brief article in the garden section of our local paper. She took two heavy duty 44 gallon plastic trash cans and completely removed the bottoms. She buried both about 6 inches deep in parts of her garden that will use the compost. The bottom of the cans are open to the soil for the bacteria, fungi, worms, and other decomposing critters. She then covered them both with the tops they came with. She daily dumps her vegetable garbage in one until it's near full, and then starts on the other. When the first one is well composted, all she has to do is lift the can so the compost comes out at the bottom, and then spread the compost around the plants. She reburies the can about 6 inches deep again and starts filling it again when the second can is full. She didn't mention ventilation or turning the compost at all.

When I'm ready to try this, I'll do a bit more work, adding old compost and a bit of soil to the mix to accelerate decomposition, and probably do some mixing and aerating. Also, I think I'll start with 30 gallon cans. They're cheaper and more compact for an urban lot. With the top on and no ventilation except through the bottom, they should get plenty hot for good composting. If they start smelling funky, I'd probably drill some holes for ventilation.

Posted on Mar 8, 2012 9:20:13 AM PST
DKF1219 says:
I made several tumble composters out of 55 gallon plastic drums that I got cheaply off CL. There are many ideas for tumble composters on Youtube. I tried to take the best of all ideas and put it into 1 design. I am going to use 2 or 3 so that I can fill one, let it do its thing while I am filling the next one (or 2). I am getting old and have quite bad arthritis--I needed something easy to use and turn. Mine has a T handle at one end and it turns very easily even with a lot in it.
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